By now, calling for Roger Goodell’s ouster is about as futile and empty a gesture as demanding the Redskins change their nickname. Ninety percent of all columns are wishful thinking, and that’s no different for me or any other COASTAL MEDIA ELITE who is sick to death of this man and would shit hot knives to see him leave office. I remember sitting here two years ago when the Ray Rice scandal blew up in Goodell’s face, posting a boilerplate FIRE GOODELL rant, and hoping beyond hope that NFL owners would convene in their volcano war room and agree to rid themselves of the Ginger Hammer once and for all.
But they didn’t, and they likely never will. Goodell has been good to his bosses—crushing unions and muscling out favorable concussion judgments—and they have repaid him with their undying loyalty. We are stuck with him for a long time, no matter how badly he fucks up, if the Josh Brown mess is any indication.
The shame of it all is that it doesn’t have to be this way. The shame of Roger Goodell’s “victories” is that is has completely blinded his masters to his faults, and to the idea that the NFL can survive—and survive comfortably—without him. Given the current state of both ratings and game quality, it’s clear (at least to me) that Goodell’s consolidation of power has had a hugely damaging long-term cost to football. A lot of people fucking HATE this league, even if they like the sport of football itself. And the NFL didn’t have to become hated in order to be wildly successful. There is an alternate universe somewhere out there that features a Goodell-free NFL: a league that’s just as lucrative and popular as it is now, without a raging dickhead in charge to piss everyone off. And I know this is could be OUR reality, because I just saw another league free itself from its own tyrant.
Consider that the NBA season just started, and that league is cresting on an insane amount of good will thanks to likable stars, a kickass Finals, thirsty-ass basketbloggers tweeting nonstop, and a low-key commissioner who is NOT a raging prick. It wasn’t that long ago that the NBA was unthinkable without David Stern. He was a soulless autocrat determined to bend players to his will, but he made the league lots of money, and therefore he was considered essential to its fortunes. Like Goodell, Stern treated his players like unruly children, and fans followed suit.
But, shock of shocks, it turns out that the sport of basketball was not wholly reliant on a single executive to thrive. Who would have guessed? Who could have known that some off-the-field pencilfucker can only get in the way of the product? I bet NBA owners never realized how good they could have it until Stern went away.
One of the great American lies is that profitability is the direct byproduct of ruthlessness. Donald Trump’s entire campaign is based on this idea, that success only comes by fucking other people over. But, time and again, this theory has been proven wrong, and it kills me that the NFL—which is purportedly run by intelligent businessmen—doesn’t realize this. It kills me that, with ratings going into the toilet, they haven’t thought to blame their own leadership for it. As it stands now, this is a Neanderthal league with a Neanderthal in charge.
What is truly lost by replacing Goodell? Oh, is he some legendary hardass at the negotiating table? You can hire pretty much any asshole, white-shoe lawyer to fill the exact same role. Apart from squinting menacingly while bargaining, what else does Goodell do except botch suspensions and awkwardly hug draftees who will come to loathe him? There’s virtually no risk at all in replacing him. And the upside of hiring a good-natured replacement is staggering. For fans like me, it would be like walking out of jail. BREATHE IN THE FRESH AIR! BASK IN THE WARM SUN! Who knew life could be so glorious?
This shit ain’t hard. Any mid-range exec would be an improvement over the current NFL commissioner … someone with the common sense to step in, simplify the catch rules, re-negotiate disciplinary measures with the union (and get more offseason practice time in return), ease up on celebration penalties, ditch replay, fire Phil Simms, and keep a low profile. PRESTO … instantly better football league. Every year that Goodell remains in charge does incalculable harm to the NFL and its reputation moving forward. You can get away with presiding over a bloodsport if you’re just NICE about it! Someone put Joe Biden in charge of this shit so that the NFL can make its babyface turn.
All games in the Jamboroo are evaluated for sheer watchability on a scale of 1 to 5 Throwgasms.
Steelers at Ravens: Big Ben is gonna play in this game because, as always, Big Ben is too big and too dumb to register any kind of serious injury. He’s like the Terminator with a fifth grade education. He’s utterly impervious to bad hockey memes. Look at this tweet:
Trimmed! Like he took his meniscus to the goddamn barber. “Just take a little off the sides, and shave the patella just a hair while you’re at it.” When Trump wins and we all die a nuclear holocaust, only Big Ben will be left standing, ready to propagate the species by getting drunk and boning radioactive cows.
Broncos at Raiders: I’m getting ahead of myself but if the Raiders make the playoffs AND they face the Patriots again AND it just happens to be snowing in Foxboro AND there’s a questionable call at the end, I firmly believe that Oakland fans will drive all the way to Boston in order to burn it down. I’m not saying I’m actively rooting for this happen, I’m just noting that the scenario has real potential.
Colts at Packers: I was watching both the World Series and Sunday Night Football the other night, so you know what I did? PICTURE-IN-PICTURE. Oh, yes I did. Remember when that was a thing? I remember back in the ‘90s when my old man bought a TV that had it, and we were fucking BLOWN AWAY. We were like, “This is the future!” Then we tried using it, only to realize that picture-in-picture sucks.
Well, I’m happy to report that it STILL sucks, because there’s no good place to put the box on the screen, and because watching two games on the same screen will cause your brain to jump out of your skull and convulse on the floor. Nice to know it’s still an option though if you really need it!
Falcons at Bucs: By the way, my favorite baseball thing is when a guy hits a rocket right at an infielder and the infielder catches it like it’s no big deal. I would shit a farm animal if that ever happened to me. But Travis Tritt Junior over at second base doesn’t even fucking blink. Just snatches that triple out of midair and goes back to chewing on a wad of mud.
Also, I enjoy it when any batter assumes a pitch is ball four and starts heading to first base right away, in order to trick the umpire into calling it. Umps never fall for that. They always call strike three, and then the batter makes the Tim Duncan Face. WHAAAAAA? YOU SAW ME WALKING TO THE BASE, DIDN’T YOU?!
Titans at Chargers: I have a take, which is that the Titans are good. They can run the shit out of the ball, and Marcus Mariota is on pace to throw nearly 30 TD passes. Why, you could see the Titans in the playoffs for years and years and years! Wouldn’t that be great? Doesn’t it make you want to slit your wrists in excitement?
Eagles at Giants: Brian Baldinger and his mangled finger got suspended six months for saying the Eagles should put a bounty on Zeke Elliott, and it’s always amusing when the NFL punishes football guys for talking like football guys. The whole point of football is to tear the other team’s fucking heads off. But here’s the NFL acting like every locker room is like BOYS LET’S GO OUT THERE AND TACKLE PEOPLE RESPONSIBLY!
Bills at Seahawks: I was on a road trip last week and half the trip turned out to be along grooved pavement. Grooved pavement is the work of Satan. I know it’s necessary to strip the road in order to repave it, but holy shit … by Mile Nine I wanted to shoot myself. The worst part is when the grooved pavement ends and you think you’re in the clear, and then it starts back up AGAIN. That’s not right. I thought I was free from all that buzzing, but no! Grooved pavement is fiendish, I tell you.
Lions at Vikings
Cowboys at Browns: Not only are the Browns winless, but they just finished the EASY part of their schedule. Here are the Browns final eight games: DAL, @BAL, PIT, NYG, CIN, @BUF, SD, @PIT. They’re doomed. There’s not a single win in there. It’s particularly cruel of God to cap an otherwise blessed sports year for Cleveland with a blown World Series and an 0-16 Browns season. You will have your moments of glory, Cleveland, but just know that God is waiting for you around the corner, ready to hurl a bucket of diarrhea and chicken blood on you. It’s not right.
As for the Cowboys, not only are they gonna go back to Tony Romo, but I can guarantee they’re gonna do it at the exact WRONG time. They’re gonna wait until they lose a game and Dak’s confidence is shaken. Then they’re gonna stick Romo in there, lose five of their last six games or so, watch his back get triple-broken Bane-style, and then revert back to Dak just in time to blow a playoff game. When you’re in thrall to Jerry Jones’s horniest impulses, you are never ever safe.
Panthers at Rams: All we needed was two straight weeks featuring a tie for people to lose their fucking minds and start demanding that the NFL fix the rules to prevent them. Never mind that the NFL product is suffering in part because league officials make panicky rule changes every year. NFL ties aren’t a fucking epidemic. They happen every couple of years, if that. Big deal. Do people REALLY want overtime to go on indefinitely? Did you need more of Seattle-Arizona? Fuck no. I can live with a tie every now and then. It’s like finding a two-dollar bill. The only acceptable way to prevent ties is college overtime, and the NFL is too uptight to ever adopt it.
Jaguars at Chiefs: What if it’s the CHIEFS who are concussed and not just Alex Smith?
Tell me it’s not a distinct possibility.
Jets at Dolphins: I know this game is terrible but by this time next week, America may be in fiery ruins. So enjoy all the precious bad football you can while it’s still around. Beats hugging your loved ones.
Saints at Niners
Pregame Song That Makes Me Want To Run Through A Goddamn Brick Wall
“Mummy Dust,” by Ghost! From Mike:
Saw them live for the first time last night and I can honestly say in 25 years of going to shows, I’ve never seen or heard anything quite like these dudes. Everything about this band is fucking great from the songs and the theatrics to the mask gimmick and the fact that nobody seems to have any idea exactly who the fuck they are! Anyway, listen to this and hit something inanimate!
Oh, I will. Big ups to Ghost playing live with freaky devil orgy masks on for the whole show. That must get hot! You need to be dedicated if you’re willing to endure that kind of stagecraft.
Gregg Easterbrook Memorial Haughty Dipshit Of The Week
You thought we were through with the Kaepernick takes, but ohhhhhhhhh, people. Oh, let me introduce you to New Orleans Magazine’s Errol Laborde, who has both a Ph.D. AND the most New Orleans name of all time. Ol’ Errol took his time working up this take… stewing the gumbo with love and care until all the flavors of dumb were in perfect harmony. BEHOLD…
Colin Kaepernick: What He Doesn’t Know
Oh yeah, baby. That’s the shit. Lay it on me, editor-in-chief of Renaissance Publishing!
My hope was to forever ignore Colin Kaepernick…
Was it, though? Because that seems like an easily reachable objective.
…but since the Saints play the San Francisco 49ers next week it will be hard not to notice the opposing quarterback and what he has to say. Once again politics body slams leisure.
On the weekend that Kaepernick made his statement as a protest against racial injustice by police by not standing for the national anthem, I happened to be on vacation in France.
While this NO-GOOD PUNK was disrespecting our country, I was doing what REAL Americans do: hanging out in FRANCE. I was tracing the family history of Paul Prudhomme, as a matter of fact. THE CUISINE OF NEW ORLEANS TELLS A STORY ALL ITS OWN.
We were in the town of Arromanche, which is near Omaha Beach.
D-Day! That’s the D-Day beach! Why does Colin Kaepernick hate beaches? Why must he bodyslam leisure like this?
There is a statue of an American GI struggling from the beach while carrying a fellow soldier on his back. Neither soldier might have made it through the day, but I hope they at least knew they had participated in one of America’s greatest moments.
And I hope they’re up in heaven, spitting on the ungrateful Afro who might sully their memory by exercising the freedom they fought for.
Just as Kaepernick has a right to express his opinion, I have a right to question it. And that has made me wonder the following:
Are you ready for this? This is when it gets good…
Does he know about D-Day and the subsequent liberation of Europe?
Does he know about the Marshall Plan and the United States having financed the rebuilding of Europe?
Probably not! If he did, he would have seen the provision that clearly states, “In exchange for financial support, our cops get to use all the pepper spray they want.”
Does he know about the Monroe Doctrine, which obligates the United States to protect the Americas (both North and South) from foreign invasion? Both continents sleep soundly tonight because the United States is on the beat.
That’s right, BITCH. No dirty foreigners get to invade Colombia, or Panama, or Grenada. Only WE get to do that. And sleep tight, Mexico! Thanks to our bottomless appetite for illicit drugs, your country is now a paralyzed narco state! YOU ARE WELCOME.
Does he remember Sept. 11 and at least concede that the attacks were an injustice against this nation?
Yes, will you CONCEDE this, Colin? Maybe Eric Garner was needlessly choked to death, but do you at least agree that 9/11 was bad?
Does he know about America as the great melting pot, which has enabled a mix of people to have opportunities?
Does he know about the Civil War in which 360,000 Union soldiers, mostly young white males, died to end slavery?
We’ve gone full Mushnick now. This is everything I hoped for from a man who looks like an extra from the set of JFK. YOU LITTLE SHIT, COLIN. Don’t you realize that white people had to die in order to stop doing that bad thing white people did?
Does he remember that a United States President was assassinated for that cause too?
We’re so far afield here, it’s quite something. Errol can go ahead and ask ANY question here and have it fit into the framework of this diatribe. Hey Colin: You remember a woman by the name of Norma Jean Mortenson, AKA Marylin Monroe? What about THAT?!
Does he know about Barack Obama?
Does he appreciate that this land of plenty has made it so that he and his teammates are multi-millionaires just from playing a game?
This always kills me. Any time a columnist is like, “You make money to play a game,” I’m apoplectic. This asshole couldn’t run five yards without dropping dead from a shrimp batter aneurysm. Being a pro athlete takes actual WORK, you know. You have train year round and drag tires behind you and run wind sprints and do all kinds of other terrible shit. Yet here’s Errol, getting paid to WRITE LIKE A KID OUT THERE. What an asshole.
Sure there have been problems along the road: the Mi Lai [sic] massacre ; assassinations, including Martin Luther King; but the overall mission of the United States has been as a purveyor of decency and freedom.
I’m dead. “Sure, we’ve bombed a village or two… maybe even blown MLK’s face off. REAL NITPICKY STUFF.
If Kaepernick needs a cause, why not reach further and take a stand against drugs?
You blacks like drugs, right? THANK THE MONROE DOC FOR THAT.
Why not promote health and physical fitness?
Why not encourage kids to study history?
My father arrived at Omaha Beach on one of the later landings. From there he worked his way through France and was submerged in the snow at the battle of the Bulge. Only his insistence to the contrary prevented the medical staff form amputating one of his frost-bitten legs. He was in a hospital in Belgium on the day that the war ended and recalled hearing a distant bugle playing the “Star Spangled Banner.” He would have stood at attention if he could have, so would some of his buddies who died, so that future generations would have the right to take a knee.
Why did you kill Errol’s dad, Colin?
Curt Schilling’s Facebook Lock Of The Week: Lions (+6)
Schilling 2016 record: 2-5-1
Fantasy Player Who Deserves To Die A Slow, Painful Death
Mark Ingram, who deserves to be enshrined in some kind of Hall of Fame for eternal fantasy uselessness. I don’t think anyone anywhere has ever been excited to have Ingram in their lineup. Even if Ingram has a nice game, you already KNOW he’s gonna follow it up with 23 yards on nine carries the following week. I have HAD IT with Mark Ingram, and so has Kevin:
Fuck you Mark Ingram. My opponent’s quarterback (Alex Smith) gets TKO’d by the Colts of all teams, and I STILL lose because your dumbass loses a fumble for a touchdown. Then you got benched for Tim “got cut from the 5 win Redskins” Hightower, who is only on the Saints roster because he gets paid in Drew Brees’ leftover Campbell’s Chunky Soup. How the fuck do you get benched by a guy who got cut for Evan Royster and Roy Helu and didn’t play a snap for four years?
Fire This Asshole!
Is there anything more exciting than a coach losing his job? All year long, we’ll keep track of which coaches will almost certainly get fired at year’s end or sooner. And now, your potential 2016 chopping block:
(*-potential midseason firing)
We gotta talk about Mike McCoy’s play-calling at the end of that Denver game, because the Chargers were down by eight and two yards from the end zone. Despite Melvin Gordon being second in the league in rushing touchdowns, McCoy called four straight passes. They didn’t even FAKE it to Gordon to keep the defense honest. I think that’s why Norv Turner quit this week. He saw that play sequence and knew he could never top it.
Great Moments In Poop History
Reader Rob sends in this story I call SPRING POOPERS:
When I was in college, every year my fraternity would take a spring break trip to Panama City FL. We’d leave around midnight and drive about 8 hours and get there as the day was just getting started...it was great.
My last year in school, the night of the trip I ate dinner at the on campus Pizza Inn. I ate a lot of bad pizza. This was approximately 5:30 pm.
I went back to the house, packed my bag, hung out, and got ready to roll. At about 12 or so i got in an Isuzu Trooper with about 5 other poor souls, and we started off in a line of about 5 cars towards Atlanta.
At about 2:30 am I got the familiar rumble in my gut, and told the driver we better make a pit stop. So all 5 cars pull over, and I go in and blow mud in a quick stop just outside Atlanta. It took me a while to finish, and everyone was pissed. I felt pretty good, and offered to drive the next couple hours.
About 15 minutes later...it hits me...hard. The Mr. Coffee percolation...the sweats...the unmistakable feeling that this is going to be bad. Everyone in the car is asleep, so I start passing the other cars in our convoy. I’m in utter distress at this point...the anguish is awful.
The next exit says “NO RE ENTRY ONTO HIGHWAY”...I don’t care. I take that exit and immediately see a Waffle House in a strip mall parking lot...I careen towards it. I’m leaning forward and straining with all my might not to unload in my shorts.
As I screech to a halt and climb out of the car, it’s already too late...I feel the warm exodus from my colon as it streams down my taint and balls...it’s truly an awful feeling. I make my way into the Awful House and head towards the bathroom. I close the door behind me and survey the damage...there’s shit everywhere. And it smells remotely like the Canadian bacon that was on my pizza from 8 hours earlier...8 hours, I should’ve known the fecal transit time would hit me on the way to the beach.
My girlfriend (now wife...score!) knocked on the door and asked what I needed. I responded “new shorts, new underwear...and new socks”. I threw everything in the garbage and put on the fresh clothes. As I walk out the head chef yells, “You better order something after all the time you spent in there!”
I walk outside and everyone is super pissed. “Sorry, I threw up on myself...” I don’t think anyone bought it. I swallowed some Pepto and took my place in the back of the Trooper, and otherwise had an uneventful trip to the armpit of spring break locations.
I don’t miss college.
Gametime Snack Of The Week
Oatmeal raisin cookies. Everyone’s been shitting on oatmeal raisin cookies lately. Even John Oliver took a moment to ANNIHILATE them a few weeks back. Well, I still love you, oatmeal raisin cookie. You are soft and warm and full of sweet brown sugar, and I get to pretend like the oatmeal is good for my heart! You anti-raisinites are far too presumptuous in assuming that the rest of us hate raisins, too. Pretty problematic imho.
Gametime Cheap Beer Of The Week
AASS! From Norway! JAJAJAJAJA! Reader Williams explains:
Here’s a beer I stumbled across a couple years ago in Norway. It tastes neither as bad as the name would suggest nor tastes as good as the 6 dollars/can cost would suggest. You did all right, Mr. Aass.
Six bucks a can! Scandinavia is so goddamn expensive. Why would you ever go there and suffer such awful exchange rates just to eat boiled herring and freeze to death? Anyway, check out the can on that Aass. It’s got a little portrait of Lauritz Aass right on the bottom! Why, he was the first generation Aass! I can’t stop laughing. AASS BEER.
And do you know the best part? This isn’t the only Aass beer out there. No, no. There’s also… (cracking up)… Aass Halling beer. Are you ready to see the Aass Halling can? Are you? Are you somewhere where people can’t hear you die of laughter?
Now there’s a fella who looks like he’s getting has aass halled. By the way, our Tim Burke says Aass is good beer, which only makes the dancing hatkicker on display here more amusing.
Jim Tomsula’s Lifehack Of The Week!
“Blood is warm. So anytime it dips below freezing outside, I gather up all the fresh roadkill I can find and put in a Hefty bag. The best night’s sleep I’ve ever gotten in with a roadkill comforter pulled up to my chin.”
Sunday Afternoon Movie Of The Week For Browns Fans
Rookie of the Year, which is a shitty movie that doesn’t deserve to be remembered. But hey, the Cubs won last night, and I’m out of ideas. So here’s Thomas Ian Nicholas being a little shit. why are kids in sports movies always so insufferable? Between this kid and Hayden Pannetierireierariererere in Remember the Titans, we should ban all sports movie kids. They’re the worst.
Gratuitous Miller’s Crossing Quote
“You understand that if we don’t find a stiff out here, we leave a fresh one.”
Enjoy the games, everyone.